As a followup to my earlier post on appeasement, I followed a trail to the thoughts of Alistair Cooke, who actually bore witness to the policy of appeasement and can compare it to today’s events. Cooke offers a compelling account of the events that led to World War II, and sums up with this:

I have to say I have written elsewhere with much conviction that most historical analogies are false because, however strikingly similar a new situation may be to an old one, there’s usually one element that is different and it turns out to be the crucial one. It may well be so here. All I know is that all the voices of the 30s are echoing through 2003.

Even so, you have to judge for yourself whether the events Cooke describes are similar enough to today’s events to make accusations of appeasement an automatic debate ender when we discuss how to resolve the situation we find ourselves in.